Mountain Workshops 2019

THE WKU PHOTOJOURNALISM PROGRAM’S MOUNTAIN WORKSHOPS ANNOUNCES CYNTHIANA, HARRISON COUNTY, KENTUCKY AS THIS YEAR’S WORKSHOP LOCATION

OCT. 29 – NOV 3, 2019

The Mountain Workshops, now in their 44th year, is an internationally recognized collection of simultaneous workshops on photojournalism, video storytelling, picture editing and collaborative digital storytelling.

In what started as a class project to document one-room schoolhouses in Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, the Mountain now hosts roughly 100 visual storytellers each year as they explore a different Kentucky community.

This October, these participants and faculty will tell the stories of the small northeastern Kentucky town of Cynthiana. Established in 1793 by Robert Harrison, it is believed he named the town after his two daughters, Cynthia and Anna. Home to 6,200 residents (18,000 in Harrison County) Cynthiana is a quiet community nestled in the middle of the Louisville, Lexington and Cincinnati “golden triangle.” A rich history of tobacco and bourbon whiskey still lingers here.

Each participant will tell a story about a community member that, as tradition dictates, they draw out of a hat. Participants typically have journalistic training and come from a variety of journalism schools and professions, but it is not limited to those in the newsgathering business. Attendees come from various storytelling backgrounds and sometimes come back to the workshop several times. It is the rich traditions of this workshop that make it one of the oldest photojournalism workshops in the country.

Scott Applewhite, a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist with the Associated Press, said the workshop environment is crucial to the next generation. “Where would any of us journeymen (photojournalists) be if we had not been guided by seasoned pros who had walked the path before us. Bless you for always giving so much of yourself to our emerging photojournalists, especially this week at the Mountain Workshops,” said Applewhite in an open letter to the workshop faculty last year.

Industry challenges over the last 25 years has changed the structure of the Workshops. Where once film was processed in tiny bathrooms, digital labs full of computers and high-end digital cameras now fill the headquarters which are provided by the communities each year. As the business of photojournalism has changed tremendously, the multitude of mentors and coaches that volunteer their time have kept the Mountain Workshop’s values intact. It’s always about the story.Mountain Workshops Logo WKUPJ WKU

Nicole Raucheisen who attended the 2018 Video Storytelling Workshop, worked on a story about a volunteer fireman. He was burned in an explosion over 30 years ago receiving burns over 30% of his body. Raucheisen was touched by her time with her subject.

“When someone is more open to the process it allows you to take more risks. It allows me to think of more interesting ways – to push a little deeper – to go underneath surface-level storytelling. The interactions that I’ve had here will inform how I produce stories in the future, particularly when dealing with sensitive subject matter,” said Raucheisen.

About 150 participants, faculty and staff will gather in Cynthiana in October, a community sitting on the Licking River and priding itself on its close-knit community. The Mountain Workshops will produce documentary shorts, still images and collaborative projects in the hope of capturing the spirit of the people and their love for who they are and where they are from. There will also be a book and a traveling gallery.

“Only well-informed, warm-hearted people can teach others things they’ll always remember and love. I think the most important thing participants will learn isn’t about gear, or lighting, or technique — those are valuable in the short term. By (Mountain’s) example, they are learning how to give back,” said Applewhite.

For further information, please contact: mountainworkshops@wku.edu or visit www.mountainworkshops.org.

Morehead 2017 Mountain Workshops Exhibition Opens

 

Images and short-form narratives from the 2017 Mountain Workshops will be on display at the Morehead Conference Center, 111 E First St, Morehead, KY 40351 September 9 – 14. The Center is open 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. each day.

Morehead, a small town nestled in the shadow of Kentucky’s Appalachian foothills, became the host in October of 2017 to Western Kentucky University’s Mountain Workshops. More than 90 journalism students and young professionals from around the world spent five days expanding their skills under the watchful eyes of experienced teachers and renowned experts in visual storytelling. All the while they were creating intimate documentaries about the people and places of Rowan County.

The region revealed itself to be a surprising mix of minds and cultures, nature and industry, but above all a friendly place where neighbor helps neighbor. The headlines here often revolve around Morehead State University and its nationally recognized Division I men’s basketball team. The university takes great pride in its $15.6 million Ronald G. Eaglin Space Science Center. The future is happening at Morehead State. But most folks here love their history, and they have plenty of it. The area is nearly as old as the United States itself. The first settlers came here from Virginia in 1783, after the end of the American Revolutionary War. In 1854, Morehead became the third community settled in the county and named after James T. Morehead, governor of Kentucky from 1834 to 1836. Mayor Trent said folks here pride themselves on their hospitality, and visitors have been known to find the town so welcoming that they decide to make Morehead their home. “Morehead is really a melting pot for this area,” he said. “From the international students and staff at the hospital to our homegrown population, it all works together. It’s really a testament to the high quality of people we have here.”

The exhibition is made possible by Canon, USA and Western Kentucky University School of Journalism and Broadcasting.

For more information contact Jamie Breeze, Director of the Morehead Conference Center, 606-780-9694 or Miranda Pederson, Mountain Workshops logistics coordinator, 270-745-4206

Mountain Workshops now accepting applications

WKU’S PHOTOJOURNALISM PROGRAM’S MOUNTAIN WORKSHOPS ANNOUNCES NEW DIGITAL STORYTELLING WORKSHOP AND MT. STERLING, KENTUCKY AS THIS YEAR’S EVENT LOCATION

The Workshops, which are now in their 43rd year, are an internationally recognized collection of simultaneous Photojournalism, Video Storytelling, Picture Editing workshops. In addition to our existing workshops, we are offering a newly created Digital Storytelling workshop. This new masters class workshop will give like-minded professionals who have skills in photo, print design, video-storytelling, time-lapse, writing and data visualization a perfect opportunity to team together and produce a single, goal-oriented project. The Mountain Workshops will be held Oct. 23 – 27.

Unlike our other courses where participants are guided by a single coach and work as individuals, this workshop is built around collaborative cooperation. Each participant in the Digital Storytelling Workshop will play to their strengths, but be closely engaged with their team and multiple coaches. Together they will build a story on a selected topic.

In what started as a class project to document one-room schoolhouses in Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, the Mountain now hosts roughly 100visual storytellers each year as they explore a different Kentucky community. The Digital Storytelling Workshop is a perfect opportunity to learn from industry-leading storytellers and innovators in the historic context of the workshops.

Participants typically have journalistic training and come from a variety of journalism schools and professions, but it is not limited to those in the newsgathering business. Attendees come from various storytelling backgrounds and sometimes come back to the workshop several times. “As a working professional wedding photographer with a journalism background, Mountain Workshops has reminded me why I got into this business – storytelling,” said Jennifer Tai, a wedding photographer based in Washington state. “It’s also added a layer to my wedding work, … a kind of meaningful documentary storytelling that photojournalism can bring to the table. This business has changed tremendously in the last 25 years and continues to do so, and Mountain Workshops with its multi-layer panel of mentors and coaches, has enabled me to think deeply and broadly about where I can go with my photography, not just professionally but personally as well. I’m a workshop junkie and have attended plenty in the last decade. I am sad to miss Mountain Workshops this year because of work, but cannot wait to apply again in 2019 and be with my Mountain Workshops family again!”

Texas based visual storyteller Michael Cirlos, who attended the 2015 photojournalism workshop, created a project inspired by Humans of New York. Cirlos’ book “Humans of San Antonio” was released this summer with several book signings and showings. “I learned so many valuable storytelling lessons and skills at the Mountain Workshops that I’m using everyday as Staff Photographer and Videographer for Centro San Antonio. Rick Loomis was my coach in 2015, and one of the lessons he taught me was to always challenge your position as you want to be in the best spot possible. Keep in mind of a better shot because it’s usually just around the corner.”

About 160 participants, faculty and staff gathered in Morehead, a community on the border of the Appalachian Mountains, and produced documentary shorts, still images, visual graphics and time-lapse photography that are presented on-site. They will also be featured in a book and a traveling gallery. This year, the neighboring community of Mt. Sterling will host the workshops.

Watch last year’s wrap-up of the week, feel the inspiration and come join us for a great week of learning, discovery and fellowship.

Click here for a direct link to our application page.

For further information, please contact: mountainworkshops@wku.edu

 

Lexington Herald-Leader columnist waxes poetic in the afterglow of Mountain

Finding great small-town stories for 35 years

ELIZABETHTOWN — When people think of great photojournalism and compelling stories, they often think of big news, distant lands and exotic cultures.

But over the years that I have been volunteering as a writing and story coach at the Mountain Workshops, I have come to realize that some of the most compelling stories and photographs can be found right under a journalist’s nose.

The Mountain Workshops is an annual documentary photojournalism project run by Western Kentucky University. Each fall, participants spend a week documenting everyday life in a small town in Kentucky or Tennessee.

The workshop began when I was a WKU student. A few of my photographer friends and two of their professors went to the mountains to document the last one-room schoolhouses in Kentucky.

In the 35 years since then, the Mountain Workshops has grown into a major, nationally known training program in still and multimedia photo journalism and picture editing.

This year’s workshops came to Elizabethtown in late October. There were 70 “students” who had paid to brush up on their storytelling skills using photographs, video, words and audio. Some were students at WKU and other universities; others were working professionals at newspapers ranging in size from small weeklies to USA Today.

Their coaches and the support staff were an all- volunteer corps of photojournalists, writers and editors from across the country. This year’s faculty included Jahi Chikwendiu, a Lexington native who has photographed extensively in Africa and the Middle East for The Washington Post; Karen Kasmauski, who has photographed more than 25 stories for National Geographic magazine; and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalists Rick Loomis of the Los Angeles Times and Mark Osler of the now- defunct Rocky Mountain News.

This was my 12th workshop during the past 18 years, and others have been coming even longer. Some regulars, including Loomis and me, are WKU grads. But others had no connection to Kentucky before they started coming to the workshop and fell in love with the experience. They include Mick Cochran, director of photography at USA Today, who teaches picture editing; and fellow writing coach Lynne Warren, a former National Geographic writer and editor.

Now that many of Kentucky’s small towns have been covered, the workshops have started going to larger towns. Besides, 150 people need a lot of motel rooms — not that anyone spends much time in them. With so much to do in a week, everyone works from early in the morning until early the next morning.

Three days before the workshops began, a volunteer technical crew turned a vacant industrial building into a state-of-the-art news-gathering and education center with dozens of borrowed computers and miles of Ethernet cable.

The workshop starts at noon Tuesday, when participants literally draw a story assignment out of a hat. The assignments are little more than leads, though, and participants spend the next four days getting to know their assigned subjects — figuring out what their stories are and how to tell them in pictures, words and sometimes audio and video.

By Saturday night, this around-the-clock learning experience has produced a Web site, about 70 picture and video stories, a framed gallery show and a book that will be published in a few months

The professional journeys that students make between the first and fifth days is amazing. And the faculty and staff always seem to learn as much as the students. The collective effort is a remarkable snapshot of a town.

I always come home from the workshops exhausted — and exhilarated. It is my annual reminder of the power of storytelling. And as digital technology advances, creative people find new and powerful ways to use it to tell stories.

“The Mountain Workshops reaffirms my belief in the value of age-old and priceless community journalism,” said Gordon “Mac” McKerral, a fellow writing coach and past national president of the Society of Professional Journalists.

“It’s not so much about the people the Mountain Workshop stories focus on — the barbers, the single father, the mother of an autistic child or the book mobile driver — but about how those people collectively tell a story about the world we live in,” McKerral said. “An inherently good world filled with people who do special things while not believing they are special at all.”

To see photo stories and videos from this and past Mountain Workshops, click here.

Mark your calendar for Mountain 2010!

The 2010 edition of the Mountain Workshops is pleased to announce the dates and location for this years annual photography extravaganza. Reserve Oct. 19-23 and come join us in Elizabethtown for another exciting year. The workshop, which offers training in photojournalism, picture editing and multimedia, will be accepting applications in the next few weeks. All participants in this year’s workshop will have the chance to win a tuition scholarship to a workshop at Maine Media Workshops! Be sure to stay tuned to this blog or visit mountainworkshops.org to learn more and to gain access to our application process.

WKU Photojournalism Internship Day 2009

hairlson

Every fall the WKU Photojournalism program invites Directors of Photography from newspapers across the region to spend the day with students reviewing portfolios and conducting intern interviews. Gary Hairlson, of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, addresses colleagues and students during a round table discussion.

_MG_0732

WKU student Ben Severence greets Kevin Swank, Assistant Managing Editor, Visuals at the Evansville Courier & Press.

The 2009 edition of the Mountain Workshops in Murray, Ky. was a smashing success!

Mountain Workshops 2009

Mountain Workshops 2009

As leaves fall annually the Mountain Workshops draw a team of dedicated teachers and determined learners to a small Kentucky town, where together they explore the richness of community, the beauty of landscape, and the possibilities and challenges of visual storytelling. In 2009 the gathering place for the 34th workshops is Murray, Ky., in Calloway County.
The Photojournalism Workshop focuses on still photography, as coaches and participants explore individual character, the give and take of relationships, the deeply-felt sense of belonging to a place and the pride of participating in a shared heritage.
The Picture Editing Workshop draws on the design sensibilities and electronic publishing expertise of its coaches to help participants learn to weave photographs and text together into memorable narratives.
The Multimedia Workshop challenges participants to gather still images, record sound and shoot video, and then use cutting-edge digital and online tools to spin all these threads into stories that captivate.

WKU Faculty member Tim Broekema produced this documentary in conjunction with Maine Media Workshops promoting the power of continuing education.

Over the last 35 years, the Workshops has influenced thousands of people – many of them in life-changing ways. When asked what was the most important part of their experience, some talk about the spectacular beauty of the environment, others praise the excellence of the programs, the world-renowned faculty or state-of-the-art equipment. Many respond by acknowledging the staff and their dedication to creating exceptional experiences. The comment received most often, however, reflects what is created when all these essential elements coexist: an appreciation for the ability to completely immerse oneself in one’s art and become part of a community passionate about creativity.

There are many different programs at the Workshops. Some concentrate on lab or studio work where others involve field trips to view the enchanting scenery. What they all have in common is an opportunity to remove oneself from the demands of everyday life and join a passionate community committed to learning a new skill or improving one’s work. While discussions of theory, history and criticism may be part of any workshop, what sets these workshops apart is a dedication to making. Students learn by doing, by trying new things, by seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Besides the programs themselves, there is no shortage of other opportunities for growth at the Workshops. Whether waking before dawn to catch the early morning light, attending after dinner gallery shows or screenings of work from some of the world’s finest artists, or working into the night on projects or assignments, the Workshops experience is intense and all encompassing. It affords the participant the opportunity to live one’s passion 24/7.

Full days are punctuated with hearty meals served under the eating tent or in the dining hall. This is a time for informal discussions with classmates and faculty as well as to meet other people at the Workshops involved in related programs. The spirit of sharing that permeates the community destroys any pretense and breaks down barriers of age and experience. Participants end their rich days at any of a wide variety of accommodations both on- and off-campus.

The week’s end is capped by a traditional Maine lobster dinner complete with corn on the cob and baked potatoes (alternative choices are always available). The campus community then usually gathers in the sound stage to celebrate the week’s hard work. Expertly produced presentations premiere the creations of each week’s workshops. It is amazing to see the quality of what can be accomplished with such intense energy in just one week’s time!

The “Mountain” tentatively finds its new home for 2009 workshop.

img_60422

Faculty members and staff have made a couple of trips this spring to Murray, Ky., sight of the 2009 Mountain Workshops. Just last week we toured Murray State  University’s basketball stadium, a possible location for the headquarters. While looking thru one of the storage closets we ran across this sign. Seems to me that the photo gods are speaking to us and telling us where we need to be. 

In the meantime, put Oct. 27 – Oct. 31 (Nov. 1 if you are in the picture editing workshop) on your calendar to attend this year’s workshops. We will begin taking applications soon. Check in often at mountainworkshops.org/apply for application updates, prices and for a list of this year’s faculty.